This Vegan Week | 1/2/17
1. | In which I learn important things... about Rylan Clark.
Sometimes I spend my evenings in a Ted Talk wormhole, attempting to expand my horizons and further my knowledge. Or I listen to a podcast while congratulating myself on spending my time so educationally, hoping the facts and stats will stick around in my memory for total recall during a future debate with an omni.
And sometimes I find myself in a Rylan Clark wormhole. You know how it is - you’re watching Room 101 while you eat your (delicious) noodle and veg concoction, you realise what an enigmatic, funny and tall man he is and wonder how tall he is on other shows too. Half an hour later you’re watching Rylan on a This Morning clip being utterly charming and you're wondering how to become his friend.
2. | Talking of broadening horizons... Deepwater Horizon.
I watched Mark Wahlberg be a hero in the film Deepwater Horizon. I’m glad they made a Hollywood film about it, because it has enlightened me into just what the shit happened. Stuff I should have known and cared about when it happened back in 2010. But sometimes I need Mark Wahlberg to make a film before I take any notice.
Deepwater Horizon was an oil rig leased to BP. On April 20th 2010, an uncontrollable blowout caused an explosion that killed 11 crewmen. An inextinguishable fire raged and resulted in the largest oil spill in US waters. Gazillions of gallons of oil spewed out into the ocean until it was officially declared they’d completely and permanently sealed the oil well on September 19th.
Jesus. H. Christ on a bike. Someone call Alanis, I've got a new lyric for her. 'It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. It's like a fire on an ocean, killing all the wildlife.'
Once I’d finished watching Mark Wahlberg I got to thinking. What happened next? Once the oil did stop spewing, what happened to the ocean and all its inhabitants? NOT GOOD THINGS.
According to Wikipedia, where I found myself in another wormhole after watching said film, the companies held responsible have forked out billions of dollars in penalties. But what good is financial compensation to dolphins and tuna and turtles and crustaceans?
The oil spill area was home to 8332 species. None of whom benefit from oil drilling. No, that’s just for us!
In 2013 it was reported that dolphins were dying in record numbers. Infant dolphins were dying at six times the normal rate, washing up dead on the shores of Mississippi. A study released in 2014 reported that tuna fish exposed to the oil spill were developing deformities of the heart and other organs.
To rub salt in the eyes of all these poor sea creatures dying slow deaths, someone had the bright idea of using an oil dispersant to make the oil biodegrade more easily. Only, what happened instead was that the oil emulsified and suspended in the water in tiny droplets. This heady mix of oil and dispersant permeated the food chain. It was found under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae, in insects and migratory birds and Pelican eggs. By 2012, commercial fisheries were reporting an alarming rise (from 0.1% to 20%) in mutated fish - shrimp without eyes or eye sockets, fish with oozing sores and lesions.
Because I'm massively late to giving a shit about this tragedy, I can't find any up to date suggestions for what to do to help, but here is an article from 2010, some of which is still valid. And probably always will be, because this disaster royally fucked things up.
The environmental repercussions were not covered in the Mark Wahlberg film. Which you can watch here.
Read up on the tragedy here.
I will not end this bit with a picture of a dead dolphin. We do not need to see pictures of dead dolphins. We need Wahlberg.
3. | Please can I have some good news now?
Yes, yes you can. We were all alarmed when Trump’s administration saw pages about Climate Change disappear from the White House website.
But a group of 21 young Americans, aged nine to 20 (nine! I didn’t even know I was alive when I was nine, let alone taking on the President of the United States!) have filed a lawsuit against the government and fossil fuel companies for failing to adequately address human-caused global warming.
The lawsuit was actually filed back when Obama was Pres, but is picking up pace now. Different President, same old problem. But worse, because this one doesn't even think Climate Change is a real thing.
The case is known as Juliana v United States and makes for a fascinating read. There is hope for the planet yet and it doesn’t come in the shape of the 70 year old clown they’ve put in charge of America. It comes in the shape of 21 kids taking him on. Absolute legends.